In a court filing made in the case of Capitol rioter Dominic Pezzola, who was evidently seeking a dismissal of his case or the declaration of a mistrial, federal prosecutors have comprehensively rebuked some of the arguments originating with Tucker Carlson’s recent commentary.
Having been provided access by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to tens of thousands of hours of footage covering time periods around the riot, Carlson has been running with the deceptive narrative that what took place on January 6 actually wasn’t that bad. Part of what Carlson originally presented were brief snippets of video showing Capitol riot participant Jacob Chansley moving — ostensibly calmly — through the building, with police nearby. The problem, prosecutors noted, is that Chansley was in the building for an hour — which is a lot more time than what was covered by the footage Carlson showed. The Fox host’s idea that brief moments in which active, physical violence wasn’t visible somehow substantively do away with the substance of the circumstances in which violence did take place is nonsense.
Pezzola was evidently trying to use the footage of Chansley to argue that the Congressional proceedings upended by the rioters’ presence actually weren’t that threatened, an idea that would discredit claims of obstructing an official proceeding, whether with conspiracy — including of the seditious sort — or not. He also claimed there were gaps in what prosecutors had previously made available in the process of discovery, which is the time period before trial in which both sides gather relevant evidence. The government said the latter claim just wasn’t true. All of the footage, they said, was made available by January of this year, and most of it came well before that.
“The televised footage lacks the context of what occurred before and after the footage,” prosecutors added. “Chansley entered the building as part of a violent crowd that gained access as a result of Pezzola’s destruction of a window and he traveled with Pezzola during the initial breach. And just as Defendant Biggs had recounted in a recorded statement after January 6, 2021, by the time Pezzola forcibly breached the Capitol and Chansley rode his coattails, the mob—through the sheer force of its size and the violence of those within it—had wrested control of portions of the Capitol grounds and the Capitol itself from a vastly outnumbered U.S. Capitol Police force.”
The government also noted some details specific to Chansley, explaining: “The televised footage shows Chansley’s movements only from approximately 2:56 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Prior to that time, Chansley had, amongst other acts, breached a police line at 2:09 p.m. with the mob, entered the Capitol less than one minute behind Pezzola during the initial breach of the building, and faced off with members of the U.S. Capitol Police for more than thirty minutes in front of the Senate Chamber doors while elected officials, including the Vice President of the United States, were fleeing from the chamber. Chansley then entered the Senate Gallery, where he proceeded to scream obscenities while other rioters rifled through the desks of U.S. Senators on the floor below.”